NEW YORK >> Most people wouldn’t dare call chiseled WWE superstar John Cena any names, let alone "a bowl of Fruity Pebbles."
But in the lead up to their WrestleMania 28 "Once in a Lifetime" match Sunday in Miami, that’s exactly what The Rock told Cena he looked like.
Instead of getting upset, Cena said he turned the situation around by contacting the cereal maker, now he’s on "three million boxes of the stuff."
While it was done in typical WWE trash-talk fashion, Cena says the pressure can get to you.
"I’m one of those guys that gets cheered, but also gets booed. Those who don’t like me, severely don’t like me," Cena told the Associated Press on Friday. "Usually your first instinct is to lash out at these people. … but I believe you always need to turn a negative into a positive."
Heavily involved in the Be-A-Star anti-bullying campaign, Cena is not just a voice for the cause, he also says he was a victim.
According the former WWE Heavyweight champion, he was bullied as a kid because he loved rap and wore hip-hop clothing in a town where it wasn’t popular. He started lifting weights to protect himself.
"By the time I was 15, I was a built kid, and the comments didn’t come so often, and the people making fun of me sort of fell by the wayside," Cena said.
While most of it was talk, Cena doesn’t see much of a difference when it comes to hurtful remarks.
"The introduction of social media pretty much gives everyone a voice, but unfortunately, people choose to use that voice in a negative way," Cena said.
Cena wants young people to know that not everyone is going to like you for who you are: "The best way to get back at them is to put a smile on your face and do whatever you can to succeed."
While he’s in the business of physical confrontations and verbal assaults, he said insults still affect you. He also wants victims to know that, so Cena refuses to block anyone or edit his Twitter account.
"There’s a lot of negative stuff on there and some of it is personal," he said. "When you’re a kid that feels that everything is coming down on you, you can look and see that this truly does happen to everybody."
The former WWE heavyweight champion also addressed the role of judging people by the clothes they wear, namely the recent debate over hoodies.
Cena doesn’t feel they make a negative statement, saying: "I’ve never seen clothing as a problem."
Trayvon Martin’s death has sparked a debate about whether hooded sweatshirts present a negative image. While Cena didn’t speak specifically about the case, he said that what people wear isn’t the main concern: ‘It’s the demeanor."
Seventeen-year-old Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Fla., last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer who has claimed self-defense and has not yet been arrested.
The Be-A-Star foundation co-founded by the WWE and The Creative Coalition.